On Friday December 2nd rehearsed readings of two plays by John Retallack are being presented at Theatre Royal Margate – Hannah and Hanna, which premiered at the theatre in 2001, and Hannah and Hannah in Dreamland, his most recent play. Both plays are produced by UK Arts International in association with Theatre Royal Margate.
Hannah and Hanna is about two teenagers, who meet in Margate at the turn of the 21st century. Hannah is Margate born and bred. Hanna is an asylum seeker from Kosovo who has fled her country’s war with Serbia, along with her mother and brother. Despite Margate Hannah’s initial hostility, the girls soon become friends, finding that their shared love of pop music is stronger than their cultural differences.
Hannah and Hanna won a Herald Angel in Edinburgh in 2001. The following year it was presented at the Time Out Critics Choice Festival at BAC and toured nationally. This was followed by two further national tours and by British Council supported presentations in India, Malaysia and the Philippines. It has been translated into eight languages.
“A little scorcher that gets right to the heart of the tensions that arise in depressed communities when refugees arrive” – Lyn Gardner, Guardian
Hannah and Hanna in Dreamland tells the story of the two friends 15 years on. It’s 2015, Dreamland has just opened, the UKIP conference is at the Winter Gardens and Margate has become a sought-after destination. Margate Hannah is now an estate agent, cashing in on the town’s newfound popularity. Hanna, disillusioned with opportunities in Kosovo, once again comes to the UK in search of a better life. By chance, they meet and pick up the friendship they had as teenagers – although this time, against the different social and political backdrop of both Margate and Pristina.
John Retallack is the author of twelve plays for young people and has adapted numerous texts for the stage and radio. He was the founding director of ATC Theatre, director of Oldham Coliseum, director of Oxford Stage Company, and the founding director of Company of Angels. From 2010 – 2013, he was Associate Director at Bristol Old Vic where he directed Owen Sheers’ play Pink Mist. He is currently Tutor in Writing for Performance at Ruskin College in Oxford.
UK Arts International was founded by Jan Ryan in 1992. The company, which recently relocated to Margate, has presented more than fifty productions in the UK and internationally, including the first tours of Hannah and Hanna. UK Arts focuses on work that is culturally diverse, attracts new audiences to theatre and deals with topics that are of contemporary relevance.
The reading of Hannah and Hanna is at 2:30pm and of Hannah and Hanna in Dreamland at 7:30pm. This event is made possible through the generous support of Arts Council England, Greenhouse and Thanet District Council.
REVIEWS for HANNAH AND HANNA
“Some genuinely very funny moments” – Broadway Baby
“A very moving play that is willing to address serious political issues” – British Theatre Guide
“An enjoyable night out that gets to the heart of prejudice issues and leaves the audience with something to think about.” – The Reviews Hub
“Intelligent, original, emotional and penetrative treatment of the issue” -The Daily Info, Oxford
“The play has something to say about a difficult topic, and finds just the right tone of voice.” – BBC
“A wonderful, unpatronising portrayal of the teenage girl, not scared to open a lid on the bottled fury and secret bliss which can hide beneath heart-patterned dressing gowns and pink headphones.” – Three Weeks
“Retallack goes neither for a story of artificial triumph or tragedy, but steers a realistic path which is at once minor-key and affirmative.” – Cix